Browns' Johnny Manziel 'trying to make an impression'

Johnny Manziel made several splashy plays during the Cleveland Browns' lone touchdown drive in the 11-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Thursday night, which induced flutters of optimism about the maligned quarterback.

"I'm still going out trying to play my best and make an impression,'' Manziel said, via "That's what I want to do. I want to have these guys go into the film tomorrow and turn on the tape and say, 'This guy's really doing things right and this guys really fighting hard to pick things up and make some plays.'

"That's what I'm trying to do. I'm trying to make an impression and leave a little bit of a lasting memory coming off these games. I wish we would have finished that out the right way, but still despite that, good things were done."

Manziel finished 10-of-18 passing for 118 yards and a touchdown while playing the entire second half. The second-year signal-caller made a nice scramble and toss for a 37-yard gain to Darius Jennings that harkened back to his star days at Texas A&M. Two plays later he put it on the money in the back of the end zone to Shane Wynn for a 21-yard score.

While sports radio in Cleveland might pine for Manziel to move up the depth chart over the vapid Josh McCown, coach Mike Pettine dismissed there was a quarterback battle brewing.

"I'm not going to sit here and talk about trying to stir up a quarterback controversy,'' Pettine said. "Josh is firmly the one.''

McCown threw two interceptions while going 7-of-10 passing for 57 yards.

"We'd say it's possible (for Manziel to close the gap), but I think most teams, that's a pretty good drop off from any starting unit, down to the twos,'' said Pettine. "There's a lot of twos with the starters, as well, so there's an even bigger drop-off to what (Manziel was) playing against. It gets factored in, but we'll see. We'll evaluate both guys.''

Manziel certainly showed strides in these first two preseason games. He's made checks at the line, read blitzes better, made hot reads and showed improved poise in the pocket. The competition he faces isn't the key in evaluating him, it's that he's making progress in the play-by-play duties of quarterbacking an NFL team. He's not there yet, but Manziel has displayed noticeable on-field improvement.

Manziel might not start Week 1, but with two more solid outings it will be much easier for Pettine to turn to him if the Browns start the season off poorly.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast caps the weeklong Fantasy Extravaganza by talking undervalued and overvalued QBs and everyone's draft philosophies.

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